Average Costs for Wedding Photographer

February 13, 2023

Tips for Brides, Weddings



Average Costs for Wedding Photographer


When it comes to planning a wedding day, there are many factors to consider, including the average wedding photographer cost. Hiring a professional wedding photographer for your wedding day is an important decision, and one that requires careful consideration. The average costs for a wedding photographer can vary greatly depending on the quality of their work, experience level, photography style, equipment costs, and geographical location. 

This article examines the factors that influence wedding photography costs, as well as provides an overview of average prices across different regions in the United States so that couples can get an idea of what they should expect when looking for a wedding photographer. 

average wedding photographer cost

Factors Influencing Wedding Photography Costs

Hiring a wedding photographer can be an expensive endeavor, with costs varying widely depending on various factors such as experience level and geographical location. 

In addition to these two factors, other influences include equipment used by the photographer; number of hours required; whether digital files are included in the fee; and additional services such as pre-wedding photoshoots offered by some photographers. 

Read on to view the top factors that affect wedding photography prices:

Wedding Photography Style

The style of wedding photography can have a major affect on the overall cost of the day. Professional photographers may charge more for certain styles, such as traditional, documentary or even fine art photography. 

Traditional photography typically involves posed shots with a more formal look – think family and wedding party photos, as well as individually-posed portraits of the bride and groom. This type of coverage may come with a higher price tag due to its time-consuming nature. 

Documentary or photojournalistic style wedding photography is much less structured and relies on candid moments to capture the unfolding story of the event. This style can be pricier due to the photographer’s skill in anticipating and capturing these special moments quickly before they disappear. 

Fine art wedding photography emphasizes artistic composition, creative angles and unique post-processing techniques to create stunning images that stand out in a crowd. These photographers normally command higher rates due to their experience and skill level in creating high-end images that are not easy to replicate.

In addition, many ceremony and reception venues offer packages that include professional photographers who work exclusively at that location or within their network of affiliates. While this option often comes at an additional cost, it may include discounts compared to hiring an independent photographer since you are unlikely to need any travel fees or extra services like albums or prints if they already have them available through their packages.

It is also important to consider any additional costs associated with different types of wedding photography beyond the final bill from your photographer. For example, if you want your photos printed on canvas or other mediums outside of digital downloads or photo albums provided by your photographer, this will likely add additional expenses onto your final tally for wedding photographs. 

Also be mindful that some vendors may charge extra for larger weddings (over 100 people) as well as special features such as drone footage or multiple cameras/angles during ceremonies and receptions -either for live streaming purposes or for taking additional video footage alongside still-photography shooting sessions.

Overall, understanding different wedding photography styles and how they can affect cost is important when planning for your special day. A good rule of thumb is to thoroughly research various photographers in advance so you know exactly what sort of services they provide and how much they charge before narrowing down your options and making a decision about who will be responsible for capturing all those memorable moments!

wedding photographer cost

Experience Level

A wedding photographer’s experience level can have a major impact on their pricing. Generally speaking, more experienced photographers command higher rates than those who are just starting out. This is due to the fact that experienced photographers have honed their craft over time, giving them a better understanding of how to capture the perfect wedding moments.

An experienced photographer will have a much better eye for detail, composition, lighting and angles when taking photographs. They also know exactly what type of shots will look great in a wedding album and how to best capture important memories such as the couple’s first kiss or the exchange of rings. Experienced photographers may also be more likely to suggest creative ideas that can help make the wedding photos stand out even more.

Experienced photographers may also require an investment in additional equipment and props that they feel are necessary for capturing beautiful wedding portraits. For example, they might need to purchase items like ring lights, reflectors or lenses that give them different angles when shooting in low light settings. These investments allow them to create stunning images that will be cherished forever.

On top of all this, experienced wedding photographers often come with an extensive portfolio showcasing their skills and creativity from past weddings they’ve been a part of. Viewing these portfolios allows couples to get an idea of what kind of photography style suits them best and understand what it is about the photographer’s work that’s worth paying for.

When it comes down to it, paying for experience when hiring a wedding photographer is invaluable because it gives you peace of mind knowing your special day will be captured perfectly by someone who knows exactly what they’re doing—from posing couples in flattering positions to editing photos until they look perfect.

wedding photographer prices

Equipment Used

Wedding photography is a highly specialized field of photography that requires expensive and sophisticated equipment. Photographers use professional cameras with high-quality lenses, lighting accessories, and other gear to capture stunning images on a couple’s special day. Not only does this equipment enable them to take better photos, but it also affects the cost of wedding photography services.

Digital SLR cameras are the standard for wedding photographers for their superior image quality and performance in low-light settings. Professional cameras such as Nikon or Canon models come with a wide range of lenses that are essential for capturing various types of shots from a close-up portrait to an aisle shot of the entire bridal party. 

Flash units are used to eliminate any shadows created by natural or artificial light sources at the ceremony or reception venue. Wedding photographers may also use additional lighting like LED lights to further enhance the images they create.

Other photography gear used by wedding photographers includes reflectors and diffusers which can be used to bounce light off certain surfaces in order to reduce harsh shadows or even out light exposure when shooting outdoors on sunny days. Photographers may also bring backdrops, props, and other accessories with them in order to add interesting elements into their shots and express more creativity with their work.

Given all this necessary gear, it is no surprise that good wedding photographers typically charge higher rates than those who specialize in other areas of photography. This is because not only do they need high-end equipment to produce quality images, but they also must factor in costs for travel expenses and all the associated labor involved with each service package they offer customers. 

As a result, couples should expect to pay anywhere from $1500-$3000+ depending on how many hours of coverage they require, as well as whether they hire multiple photographers or assistants for their big day.

Number of Hours Required

Most wedding packages involve multiple hours of coverage from preparation throughout reception festivities but couples can customize the amount of coverage they need according their preferences. Photographers usually charge either hourly or per event basis, in both cases pricing tends to increase when additional hours are needed. This means that extended coverage can lead to higher total costs since it involves extra working hours on top off pre-production/post-production tasks associated with every shoot. 

destination wedding

Consider Travel Fees

When planning a wedding, hiring a professional photographer to document the day is an important part of the overall experience. Not only does it provide couples with beautiful memories that will last a lifetime, it can also be expensive depending on the services needed. Travel fees associated with hiring a wedding photographer can vary greatly based on their geographic location and the distance they must travel to capture your special day.

The cost of a photographer’s travel expenses typically reflects the amount of time, energy, and resources required for them to get to you and back home again. If the photographer must fly in or drive more than an hour away from their studio, they will likely charge extra for what is called “travel fees”. This fee is designed to cover the expense and effort associated with reaching your venue, as well as any related transportation costs – such as fuel, tolls or overnight stays – incurred when travelling long distances.

In some cases, a wedding photographer may include travel fees within their standard package price, while others may choose to list them separately in order to ensure clients understand exactly how much they are paying for each item individually. It is always best practice for couples to thoroughly review any contract before signing it so that all details regarding travel fees are clearly understood. 

Some other questions one should consider when selecting a wedding photographer are; what type of vehicle they use (plane/train/car), if they require overnight accommodations during their travels (hotel/motel), and if there are any additional charges involved in the service beyond just mileage (tolls/parking).

Travel fees can range anywhere from under $100 up to several hundred dollars depending on how far out-of-town your wedding venue is located relative to where your wedding photographer resides or works from. One option for reducing these costs is finding photographers located closer together, who may already be familiar with the area or have had recent events there that could enable them to bill less for their services. 

Additionally, couples should consider asking their prospective photographers about destinations – where both parties agree ahead of time that all related travel expenses will be covered by either side prior to signing any contracts.

When budgeting for a wedding photographer’s services, keep in mind that you not only have access to images lasting you a lifetime but also peace-of-mind knowing that you don’t have additional surprise charges later down the road due to unexpected travel expenses incurred by your hired professional as they strive towards making your dream day come true!

A La Carte Options

A la carte options for wedding photographers can also affect pricing. These are add ons that are not included in a wedding package. A la carte options may include adding a engagement session, additional hours, extra shots or locations, prints, albums, and digital files.

It’s important to note that the cost of these a la carte options can add up quickly and may be more expensive than an all-inclusive package from a professional photographer. For example, if you choose to have an album included with your photography package, it is important to consider the cost of materials such as papers and print qualities. Additionally, each extra hour or location will come with its own costs associated with travel time and equipment setup.

Also worth noting is that many professional photographers will offer discounts on a la carte items when purchased as part of a larger package. This can help save money while still allowing couples to personalize their wedding photography experience. 

Furthermore, some photographers may offer packages that are completely customizable which could provide even greater flexibility in terms of price point and services offered.

At the end of the day, it’s important to look at different a la carte items when selecting a wedding photographer so you can make sure you’re getting the most value for your money and having an optimal experience on your special day. 

While there are certainly costs associated with opting for an a la carte package instead of an all-inclusive one, doing so allows couples to customize their experience in ways that best suit their budget – making sure they get exactly what they want out of their wedding photos.

It is also important to consider any additional costs associated with different types of wedding photography beyond the final bill from your photographer. For example, if you want your photos printed on canvas or other mediums outside of digital downloads or photo albums provided by your photographer, this will likely add additional expenses onto your final tally for wedding photographs. 

Also be mindful that some vendors may charge extra for larger weddings (over 100 people) as well as special features such as drone footage or multiple cameras/angles during ceremonies and receptions — either for live streaming purposes or for taking additional video footage alongside still-photography shooting sessions.

Geographical Location

Another factor influencing pricing is where you live geographically. For example, big cities like New York or Los Angeles tend to have higher rates than smaller towns due to larger demand (and therefore competition) among photographers operating in these areas. Additionally, certain parts of the country may also charge additional fees due to travel expenses associated with covering weddings outside their area. 

wedding photographers packages

The Average Wedding Photographer Cost By Regions In The United States 

When looking into hiring a wedding photographer in the United States, keep in mind the average cost of their services varies greatly depending on the region. Wedding photographers in major metropolitan areas like New York City or Los Angeles tend to have higher rates due to an increased demand for their services, while photographers working in smaller city locations or rural areas may charge lower prices.

In the Northeast, wedding photography packages typically start around $2,000 and can easily reach up to $4,500 or more for larger events and destination weddings. Similarly, photographers in the Southeast can range from about $1,500 to $4,000 for their services depending on location and size of wedding. 

On the opposite side of the country in the Midwest region, wedding photography packages may start around $1,500 and increase up to $3,500 or more depending on factors such as experience level and services offered.

Moving westward along America’s coastlines – it’s not uncommon to find wedding photographer packages ranging in price from roughly $2,000 to over $5,000. This is largely due to cities like Seattle and Portland which are known for having higher service costs than other parts of the country. However there are also some photographers who offer more affordable options even within these metropolitan hubs. 

Photographers in Southwest states tend to be priced slightly lower than those found along the coasts – with packages starting at about $1,200 and reaching up to around $4-5k depending on experience level and what services they provide (such as albums/prints).

Finally when discussing how much does a wedding photographer cost overall – one must take into account additional factors like travel expenses for destination weddings and associated fees that come with customized prints/albums/etc. Although these additional charges may add up quickly – couples should still try to keep an open mind when selecting a photographer who meets both their budget constraints and aesthetic preferences as they will be capturing moments they’ll look back on fondly!

Conclusion: Finding the Right Wedding Photographer

Remember…Wedding Photography Prices Vary

When considering hiring a professional photographer there are many factors at play which determine wedding photographer prices; including experience level, wedding budget, geographical location, type/quality of equipment used, number of hours required and digital file inclusion among others . Prices vary significantly across different regions ranging from low end averages around 1000 dollars up to 8K+ for more exclusive areas located in west coast . 

Hopefully this article provided enough information about average wedding photography cost estimations so couples can get on with wedding planning and have solid expectations when researching potential vendors.

We are a husband and wife team who tend to balance each other out perfectly in life - especially when it comes to capturing our couples wedding day. Lauren is usually the one making sure you look your absolute best, while Tom is behind the lens grabbing all your important shots. Also, let’s not forget to mention that we are the extreme fanatic when it comes to every...single...detail.

Your wedding photo & video duo based in Pennsylvania.

We're tom and lauren